U-turn on disabled parking?

Photo Emma Mitchell 02.08.16'Disabled Parking at william Patrick Library
Photo Emma Mitchell 02.08.16'Disabled Parking at william Patrick Library

East Dunbartonshire Council looks set to scrap charges for disabled motorists at town car parks after a 
barrage of complaints.

New charges were introduced on July 4 at seven car parks owned by the council.

But making disabled drivers pay to park has provoked an outcry.

One elderly disabled woman told the Herald she was forced to pay a £30 fine for parking in a disabled bay at William Patrick Library in Kirkintilloch within the first two hours, which are free.

Isabella Barclay, who can only walk a short distance on her own, said: “I was only gone for about 45 minutes. My hairdresser is close to the library.

“I didn’t know you had to get a ticket to park for free and I have a blue badge.

“I had heard about the parking charges but thought as I was in a disabled bay, I would be okay.”

She added: “It takes me all my time to walk a short distance in a straight line. Every step counts.”

Isabella said she had considered an appeal against the £30 ticket.

But she added: “You can’t pay the fine and then appeal, so I was worried I would end up having to pay the increased rate of £60 which applies after two weeks.”

Deputy Chief Executive, Place, Neighbourhood & Corporate Assets, Thomas Glen, said the council was now “reviewing the ticketing system”.

He added: “We always monitor schemes post implementation and we are listening to the views of local residents.

“Initial feedback has highlighted the difficulties faced by some disabled motorists and we are currently reviewing the ticketing system in place and the potential to make changes to the existing Traffic Regulation Order and charging scheme.”

East Dunbartonshire MP John Nicolson tweeted on Thursday: “Delighted East Dunbartonshire Council has had a change of heart. No longer trying to charge disabled people to park.”

A spokesperson for the charity Disabled Motoring UK said car parking systems similar to the one set up by East Dunbartonshire Council were “discriminatory to disabled drivers.”

He added: “Many disabled people take longer to get around city centres because of mobility problems.

“Many car parking policies aim to dissuade people from parking for a long time and the fee often goes up significantly the longer the time parked.”